July 23, 2020
It was a rather surreal scene in Our Nation's Capital this evening, as the Washington Nationals hosted the New York Yankees in the first Major League Baseball game of the year before an unpacked (that is, empty) house. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the Center for Allergies and Infectious Diseases threw out the first pitch in what can only be described as pitiful style. For only the second time in history, the two starting pitchers on Opening "Day" had also faced each other in the previous year's World Series: Max Scherzer against Gerrit Cole, who pitched for the Houston Astros last year. As so often happens, Scherzer gave up a home run early in the game; this time Giancarlo Stanton smashed a ball way up into the Red Porch section, and the ball went an estimated 460 feet. In the bottom of the first, the Nats' Adam Eaton narrowed the gap with a solo home run to right field, but that was the Nationals' only hit in the rain-shortened game. Scherzer struck out 11 batters, showing he's the same fierce competitor he was last year. Final score: Yankees 4, Nats 1 after five innings of play. Attendance: zero.
Talk about a dispiriting note on which to begin the baseball season! About an hour before the first pitch, it was announced that the Nationals' young slugger Juan Soto had tested positive for covid-19. He shows no symptoms, however, and it is entirely possible that he will recover in time to play next month or September. Soto was replaced in the lineup by the young Andrew Stevenson. If the Nats can't get a top performer to fill that vacancy, they've got a tough road ahead of them. To qualify for active duty, MLB players must get two negative test results within a certain period of time.
Across the continent, the L.A. Dodgers are hosting the San Francisco Giants at this very moment. And that is what prompted me to do another series of diagram updates:
During the off-season, Dodger Stadium underwent yet another big renovation, this time involving the bleachers. The stairs in front of the bleachers were removed, and a table seating area was put into the gap between the fence and the bleachers. (After watching video replays of home runs by Anthony Rendon and Howie Kendrick when the Nationals played in Los Angeles during last year's NLDS, I could see that the gap is about ten feet wide, rather than seven or so feet wide as I had estimated before.) In the center of both the right- and left-side bleachers there are new open areas for mingling, and in back of the bleachers is a broad new plaza that provides access to the seats. It is similar to what the Royals did with Kaufmann Stadium in 2009. The last major renovation at Dodger Stadium took place in 2014, and I did a diagram update that December.
And so, I updated the Dodger Stadium page with a new diagram, along with a number of small tweaks. As usual, you can compare the new version to the preceding version by clicking on the image on that page.
Dodger Stadium was prominently featured in Naked Gun (1988), starring Leslie Nielson.
Since the Five Thirty Eight blog called attention to my Stadium profiles page, I figured I'd better bring it up to date with the Texas Rangers' new Globe Life Field, which formally opens for business tomorrow.